NBA preseason: Hawks 108, Hornets 102

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

Outscored 30-12 in the second quarter, the Hornets never led in their preseason opener, losing for the first time in exhibition play since 2007. New Orleans went unbeaten in the 2008 preseason. Atlanta led tonight by as many as 32 points.

A few things to note from tonight’s game:

• Along with the injury absences of Emeka Okafor, Ike Diogu and Hilton Armstrong, rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton did not play. Byron Scott said earlier this week that he would alternate minutes for several players in preseason, meaning it’s likely that Collison and Thornton will log extensive PT on Thursday against the Bobcats.

• As expected, All-Stars Chris Paul and David West played about 20 minutes. Paul had 20 points and seven assists.

• Among the reserves, point guard Bobby Brown was aggressive on offense, scoring 23 points.

Head Coach Byron Scott:
“Most of the good things we did were in the second half. We didn’t have the tempo I wanted in the first half. In the second half we were getting up and down the floor. I thought the first half, especially the second quarter our second unit did a better job of getting into an offensive set. The Hawks were killing us in rebounds. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement. Even though this is preseason, you have to pay attention to detail better. Our effort was so much better in the second half, which is why the game was so much closer in the second half.”

Chris Paul:
“I think this game was a tale of two halves. We definitely picked up the tempo in the second half. I really didn’t like our energy in the first half, and I think we can do a better job defensive rebounding. I think the main thing is communication. I think that’s definitely one thing you want to improve in the preseason.”

Bobby Brown:
“My job is to come in and give the team some energy. If I had open shots, the coach wants me to be aggressive enough to take them. That’s what I tried to do in the third quarter. I felt like my job was to also take the pressure off Chris (Paul) and try to make plays. Chris and I are very competitive, and we make each other better, so that our team can be successful.
“In preseason you’re going to get more familiar with the players on the court, and see how we run the floor and execute as a unit. We want to work on things like controlling the tempo. In each game you want to improve defensively and offensively.”